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Beardie Herding Cont'd

           One of my favourite pictures of Diva in action

Jackie, Hugh and I plan to do our very best to keep up with the herding training of Diva, Nell, and any others which may come along to join us, as we feel this side of the Beardie's abilities has for too long been neglected in this country for some reason. In the 1990's almost every Beardie which came to Jackie's for testing showed some degree of natural herding ability: now we're seeing it more rarely, which is a disappointment.  It would be a tragic waste of the efforts of Mrs Willison and all the great breeders of the past if the Bearded Collie heritage was to wither away due to lack of interest.

                            Hugh Emerson working with 3-year old Nell

Unfortunately we cannot expect the serious sheep farmers or triallists to turn back to the Beardie, after years of working with the Border Collies.  The coat is much too great a handicap, having become somewhat excessive for the show ring, especially around the face and legs.  If these people mention working Beardies, closer inspection often reveals a different type of dog altogether.  I have included on this page a working Beardie of the type we see in our area (North Yorkshire) 

What we need to do is clear from our minds all we have learned about our dogs with reference to coat, breed type, construction etc and take a look at what is going on inside their  heads - sadly, sometimes, very little!  However appearances can be deceptive and at other times that doe-eyed little fluffball can take all of us by surprise.  I know that my Lulu, a reserved, almost timid, showdog and rather small and slight for a Beardie bitch, had quite a different side to her when presented with four acres, a bunch of lively sheep towering over her, and usually inclement weather conditions, showing an almost terrier-like lust to get on with the job at times.  Rosie Emerson, her training companion, was a Champion show dog, yet possessed a fanatical desire to work which completely belied her sweet feminine appearance.

Working Beardies watch out!  The show Beardies are rallying in North Yorkshire......to follow their progress please visit www.spanglefish.com/BeardedColliesforShepherding and www.spanglefish.com/HerdingBeardies

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